Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in the Levant region of West Asia, as well as a region bordering the Middle East. The borders are Syria north and east and Israel south, while Cyprus lies to the west across the Mediterranean Sea.
The discovery of Lebanon at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian Peninsula has contributed to its rich history and built respect for cultural diversity in religion and ethnicity. With just 10,452 km2 (4,036 mi2), it is one of the smallest known countries in Asia. The official language, Arabic, is the official language of Lebanon.
The first evidence of civilization in Lebanon goes back more than seven thousand years, preceding recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Phoenician, seaside culture that flourished for nearly three thousand years (3200-539 BC). In 64 BC, the Roman Empire conquered the region, and it eventually became one of its leading Christian institutions. The list of Mount Lebanon has seen the emergence of a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church. When the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites clung to their religion and identity. However, a new religious group, the Druze, formed itself on Mount Lebanon, revealing a religious division that lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites reunited with the Roman Catholic Church and reaffirmed their alliance with Rome. These bonds have an impact on the region in modern times.
Ancient Vs Medieval Lebanon
In Ancient times, Evidence from Lebanon’s first settlement was found in Byblos, considered one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Evidence begins before 5000 BC. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of prehistoric statues with crushed limestone floors, ancient weapons, and burial vessels left by the Neolithic and Calcolithic fishing communities that inhabited the Mediterranean Sea more than 7,000 years ago.
Lebanon was the northern part of Canaan, and as a result it became a land of descendants of the Canaanites, Phoenicians, seafaring peoples who spread throughout the Mediterranean during the first millennium BC. The most prominent Phoenician cities were Byblos, Sidon, and Tire, while the most famous colonies were Carthage in present-day Tunisia and Cádiz in present-day Spain. The Phoenicians are said to have invented ancient certified manuscripts, which later promoted the Greek and Latin alphabet. Phoenician cities were annexed to the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great in 539 BCE Phoenician cities were later added to the empire of Alexander the Great following the siege of Tire in 332 BC.
In Medieval times, The state of what is now Lebanon, as well as other parts of Syria and much of Anatolia, became the center of Christianity in the Roman Empire during the early days of religion. Toward the end of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century, a monk named Maron established a monastic tradition centered on the importance of belief in one God and sacrifice, near the Mediterranean Mountains known as Mount Lebanon. Maron’s subsequent calls spread his teachings to the Lebanese in the region. These Christians were called Maronites and moved to the mountains to avoid religious persecution by Roman authorities. During the centuries-long Roman-Persian War, the Sassanid Persians occupied what is now Lebanon from 619 to 629.
During the seventh century the Muslim Arabs conquered Syria and established a new empire that would replace the Byzantines. Although Islam and the Arabic language were officially ruled under the new regime, the general public nevertheless gradually converted to Christianity and the Syriac language. The Maronite community, in particular, has managed to maintain a high degree of independence despite successive rulers in Lebanon and Syria.
The related (but not complete) division of the Lebanese mountains meant that the mountains served as a refuge during the religious and political crises of the Levant. Thus, the mountains showed religious diversity and the existence of several sects and denominations, in particular, Maronite, Druze, Shiite Muslims, Ismailis, Alawites and Jacobites.
During the 11th century the Druze religion emerged from the branch of Shia Islam. This new religion gained followers in the southern part of Mount Lebanon. The southern part of Mount Lebanon was ruled by the feudal Druze families in the early 14th century. Maronite people are slowly rising north of Mount Lebanon and the Druze live south of Mount Lebanon to this day. Keserwan, Jabal Amel and Beqaa Valley were ruled by feudal Shia families under the Mamluks and the Ottoman Empire. The major coastal cities, Sidon, Tire, Acre, Tripoli, Beirut, and others, were directly controlled by the Muslim Caliphs and were completely absorbed by the Arab culture.
How Lebanon got freedom from France?
Lebanon gained some independence during France’s German occupation. General Henri Dentz, the Vichy High Commission of Syria and Lebanon, played a key role in national liberation. The Vichy authorities in 1941 allowed Germany to transport airplanes and goods from Syria to Iraq where they were used to fight British troops. The United Kingdom, fearing that Nazi Germany would gain full control of Lebanon and Syria by oppressing the weak Vichy government, sent troops to Syria and Lebanon.
After the war ended in Lebanon, General Charles de Gaulle visited the area. Under political pressure from within and outside Lebanon, de Gaulle saw Lebanon’s independence. On November 26, 1941, General Georges Catroux announced that Lebanon would gain independence from the French French government. Elections were held in 1943 and on November 8, 1943 the new Lebanese government unilaterally abolished power. The French responded by arresting the new government. Faced with international pressure, the French released government officials on November 22, 1943. Their allies remained in the area until World War II ended.
After the end of World War II in Europe, French rule could be said to have been abolished without any legal action on the part of the United Nations or its successor to the United Nations. The mandate was terminated by the declaration of coercive power, and the new nations themselves, of their own independence, followed by a process of unconditional acceptance of other states, which was finally legally recognized by the United Nations. Article 78 of the UN Constitution eliminates the status of education of any member state: “The trusteehip system shall not apply to territories which have become members of the United Nations, whose relationship will be based on respect for the principle of absolute equality.” Thus, when the UN was officially established on October 24, 1945, after the ratification of the UN treaty by five permanent members, as Syria and Lebanon were the mainstream states, French rule of both was officially abolished on that day and full independence was achieved. The last French troops withdrew in December 1946.
The 1943 Lebanese National Pact demanded that its president be Maronite Christian, that its Speaker in Parliament be a Shia Muslim, that its prime minister be a Sunni Muslim, that that a Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a Deputy Prime Minister be Greek Orthodox.
Lebanon’s history since independence has sometimes been marked by political instability and instability embodied in the success of Beirut’s success as a regional financial and commercial center.
In May 1948, Lebanon supported neighboring Arab countries in a war against Israel. While some unusual armies crossed the border and waged small battles against Israel, there was no support from the Lebanese government, and the Lebanese army did not officially attack. Lebanon has agreed to support the military by including firearms, armored vehicles, volunteers and donations. On June 5-6, 1948, the Lebanese army – led by the then Minister of National Defense, Emir Majid Arslan – captured Al-Malkiyya. This was the end of Lebanon’s military success.
As a result of long-term exploitation, few old cedar trees live in the forests of Lebanon, but there is an effective program for conservation and rehabilitation of forests. The Lebanese approach emphasizes environmental resilience by planting by creating favorable conditions for growth and growth.
What is French mandate in Ottoman Lebanon?
During this time Lebanon was divided into several provinces: North and South Mount Lebanon, Tripoli, Balbekb and Beqaa Valley and Jabal Amel. South of Mount Lebanon in 1590, Fakhr-al-Din II became a follower of Korkmaz. He soon established his authority as the Druze prince in the Shouf area of Mount Lebanon. Eventually, Fakhr-al-Din II was appointed Sanjakbey (Governor) of several Ottoman provinces, who was responsible for tax collection. He extended his rule over much of Mount Lebanon and its coastline, even building a fortress in the center of Palmyra. This extreme reach eventually became more difficult for Ottoman Sultan Murad IV, who sent a punitive campaign to capture him in 1633. He was deported to Istanbul, held for two years, and killed along with one of his sons in April 1635. Survivors of Fakhr al-Din’s family ruled the area under close Ottoman rule until the end of the 17th century.
With the death of the last Maan emir, various members of the Shihab family ruled Mount Lebanon until 1830. About 10,000 Christians were killed by the Druzes during the civil war in 1860. Shortly thereafter, the Emirate of Mount Lebanon, which lasted for nearly 400 years, was replaced by the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, thanks to a European-Ottoman treaty called the Règlement Organique. The Baalbek and Beqaa Valley and Jabal Amel were periodically ruled by various feudal Shia families, most notably Al Ali Alsagheer in Jabal Amel who remained in power until 1865 when the Ottomans took direct control of the region. Youssef Bey Karam, Lebanese nationality played a major role in the independence of Lebanon during this period.
In 1920, after World War I, the Mutasarrifate region, along with the surrounding area, which was predominantly Shia and Sunni, became part of Greater Lebanon under French rule in Syria and Lebanon. About 100,000 people in Beirut and Mount Lebanon starved to death during World War I. In the first half of 1920, Lebanese territory was declared part of the Syrian Arab Empire, but soon the Franco-Syrian War led to the defeat of the Arabs and the extermination of the Hashemites .
Climate & Environment
Lebanon has a temperate Mediterranean climate. In coastal areas, winters are generally cool and rainy when summer is hot and humid. In the highlands, temperatures often drop below freezing in winter with heavy snow cover that lasts until early summer on high mountain peaks.
In ancient times, Lebanon was covered with massive cedars, a national symbol. Thousands of years of deforestation have changed the hydrology of Mount Lebanon and changed the bad weather. Since 2012, forests have covered 13.4% of Lebanon’s land area are often threatened by wildfires caused by prolonged dry summers.
Crisis occurred in 2019-2020
On October 17, 2019; the first of several series of public protests erupted were originally caused by a tax on fuel, cigarettes and online calls such as WhatsApp. But these were soon expanded into a nationwide sectarian regime, a dry economy, unemployment, corruption in public places, law (such as bankruptcy) that seems to protect the ruling class from responding and failure from government to provide basic services such as electricity, water and sanitation.
As a result of the protests, Lebanon was embroiled in a political crisis, with Prime Minister Saad Hariri demanding his resignation and echoing the protesters’ demand for an independent professional government. Some politicians affected by the protests are still in power. On 19 December 2019, former Minister of Education Hassan Diab was appointed as the next Prime Minister and tasked with building a new Cabinet. Protests and acts of public disobedience have continued, with protesters criticizing and criticizing Diab’s appointment as Prime Minister. Lebanon has been facing a major economic crisis for decades. Lebanon is the first country in the Middle East and North Africa to experience a inflation rate of more than 50% for 30 consecutive days, according to Steve H. Hanke, a professor of economics at Johns Hopkins University. On August 4, 2020, an explosion in the port of Beirut, a large port in Lebanon, destroyed the surrounding area, killing more than 200 people and injuring thousands more. The cause of the explosion was later determined to be 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored unsafe, and accidentally burned Tuesday afternoon. Less than a week after the incident, on August 10, 2020, Hassan Diab, the prime minister who had been elected less than a year earlier, addressed the nation and announced his resignation. Protests continued until 2021 and Lebanese continued to block roads with burnt tires protesting poverty and the economic crisis. On March 11, the inaugural Minister of Energy warned that Lebanon was threatened with “total darkness” by the end of March if there was no secure money to buy petrol for the power stations.
Want to travel to Lebanon? Read the latest travel guide article on Yoair blog ‘The Switzerland of the Middle East’, Lebanon is a Trip to Remember